A lot of people are wondering, what are banana benefits for women? How about banana benefits for men? Today’s blog is all about the humble yellow fruit, the banana, and what it can give to help you maintain a healthy body.
It is undeniable the bananas are among the most important crops globally. It is nutrient-dense, can be eaten even by those who are ailing or sick, and provides several essential nutrients in viable quantities per serving.
A cup of mashed bananas contain the following nutrients in specific volumes: vitamin A (144 IU), vitamin C (19.6 mg), vitamin E (0.2 mg), vitamin K (1.1 mcg), thiamine (0.1 mg), riboflavin (0.2 mg), niacin (1.5 mg), vitamin B6 (0.8 mg), folate (45 mcg), pantothenic acid (0.8 mg), choline (22 mg), betaine (0.2 mg), calcium (11.3 mg), iron (0.6 mg), magnesium (60.8 mg), phosphorous (49.5 mg), potassium (806 mg), and zinc (0.3 mg). Based on the 23% RDA of potassium provided by a cup of mashed bananas, you will have to consume 3-4 bananas per day to get your 100% RDA for potassium.
What is Potassium Deficiency?
Potassium deficiency takes place when over a while, a person is unable to consume food or beverages that contain the essential nutrient potassium. The condition is medically known as hypokalemia, and if you have hypokalemia, you may experience a variety of symptoms.
The most common symptom of hypokalemia is inexplicable fatigue and bodily weakness. Potassium is necessary for regular and healthy muscular contractions. When we move about, the body uses up its stores of potassium, so when you don’t have enough of it, it’s going to take a toll on you after a period.
The second most common symptom of hypokalemia is muscular cramps. Muscular cramps are uncontrollable spasms or contractions of specific muscles. While cramps do occur during physical exertions due to the buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissues, it’s also possible to get cramps from not having sufficient potassium.
Hypokalemia can also cause a condition wherein the brain and digestive system are unable to communicate with each other appropriately. This results in slow digestion, which in turn can cause the person to feel bloated and constipated, as well. In extreme cases of errant ingestion, the intestines can become paralyzed entirely, which is a risky condition.
The third most common (and alarming symptom) of potassium deficiency is palpitations. Palpitations are essentially heartbeats that can be felt by the person.
Typically, you shouldn’t be able to feel or notice your heartbeats. When there is a potassium deficiency, the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively. The reduction in blood flow may trigger palpitations. Take note that palpitations are different from arrhythmia. If you feel that you are suffering from the latter, it would be best to consult with your GP immediately.
People with potassium deficiency can also suffer from muscular maladies (in addition to cramps). A person may experience stiffness and inexplicable aches all over, even if he isn’t doing anything. Again, this can be traced to potassium’s job of allowing muscles to contract generally during movement.
Hypokalemic individuals can also suffer from paresthesia, which usually occurs along the arms, hands, and legs. Paresthesia is intermittent tingling or numbness, and often signals a mineral deficiency affecting the central nervous system. Don’t ignore the signs – if you feel that you are hypokalemic, it is essential that you begin adding food rich in potassium to your diet, like bananas.
It’s also possible for a hypokalemic individual to suffer from severe mood swings and even breathing difficulties, so you will be in a tight spot, indeed if you happen to have this mineral deficiency.
Banana Benefits and Side Effects
According to the UK’s National Health Service, a healthy adult should get about 3,500 mg of potassium daily. The misconception that seven bananas will kill a person is false. A healthy person would be hard-pressed to harm himself by eating bananas to the point that his heart stops. You will have to consume about 400 bananas to do that, and this is well beyond what a normal person would consume at a single sitting anyway. Bananas contain the mineral potassium that helps generate electrical charges that make muscles contract. The heart, as you know, is made of pure muscle, which is why it benefits from the potassium in bananas.
Bananas also contain some amount of radiation (about 0.1 microsieverts), but don’t let this stop you from eating them. To put things in their proper contexts, a typical CT scan can beam up to 15 millisieverts of radiation, and 0.1 microsieverts is a long journey to even just one millisievert. But why are we worried about these things, anyway? Bananas taste delicious; they contain water, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. They’re one of the ideal types of food on the planet, and it doesn’t take a whole lot to grow a bunch of them.
The fiber in bananas is also resistant starch, which means it will pass through your digestive system without being broken down. The fiber acts like a broom that removes impurities tuck to the lining of your digestive tract. For constipated individuals who are always low on fiber, this is a boon. Bananas also contain dopamine, but in the context of eating dopamine, it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier at all, so it just functions within the body as one of many antioxidants that are naturally present in fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants are responsible for cleaning up free radicals in the body, which have been linked to premature cellular death and aging. Alongside dopamine is catechin, which is a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids have been associated with reducing the incidence of different kinds of cancer, from breast cancer to prostate cancer. So when you eat bananas, you aren’t just protecting your heart, you are also preventing cancer cells from dominating your tissues.